Creatures of a Rhode Island Halloween II
(With the help of some creative editing) here is the true story from the July 3, 2004 edition of the Block Island Times of the most recent sighting of a mythical sea creature that may live in the briny deep off of Block Island sound…
URI Oceanographer: “It was a monster”
On Thursday, June 24, Callum Crawford and Rob Fell braved the chilly ocean near Grace’s Cove on an early-morning spearfishing expedition to secure a few striped bass for the dinner table….
They actually saw it from the shore: a blur of whiteness underneath the waves just beyond the break. The two waded back into the surf and, to their astonishment, found the coiled skeletal remains of an indeterminate undersea creature.
When unrolled, the remaining spinal column and skull reached a length of 18 feet….
In 1996, almost eight years ago to the day, local commercial fishermen Gary Hall and Jay Pinney pulled a similar looking and smelling thing to the surface. It became known as the Block Ness Monster and, after much fanfare, was lost to history in a mysterious carcass-napping….
Jay Pinney devoted much time and effort in determining the origin of the original Block Ness Monster, and was never satisfied with its identification as a basking shark. Pinney saw photographs of dead basking sharks that, to his eye, just didn’t look like what he and Hall netted that day. “None of them had a beak that long or flat,” he said. “Everyone had an opinion and no one was wrong”….
A team of scientists arrived on the 11:45 a.m. ferry Friday, June 25, and made for the 18-foot creature that by this time had been laid out on the stretch of beach between the ferry dock and the Old Harbor Bike Shop.
The group was led by oceanographers Jeremy Collie, Ph.D., and William Macy III, Ph.D….
But as of press time, we don’t know with certainty what Crawford and Fell found in Graces Cove last Thursday.
Prof. Collie said on Tuesday that “If you imagine the fish intact, it was a very large fish.” This echoes what he said when initially surveying the remains on Friday: “There was much more of this fish — it was a monster. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that.”